Megalithic Culture

c. 10950 - 1500 BC

Megalithic Culture

A megalith is a large stone that has been used to construct a structure or monument, either alone or together with other stones. The word “megalithic” describes structures made of such large stones, utilizing an interlocking system without the use of mortar or cement, as well as representing periods of prehistory characterised by such constructions. For later periods the term monolith, with an overlapping meaning, is more likely to be used.

The word “megalith” comes from the Ancient Greek “μέγας” (megas) meaning “great” and “λίθος” (lithos) meaning “stone.” Megalith also denotes an item consisting of rock(s) hewn in definite shapes for special purposes. It has been used to describe buildings built by people from many parts of the world living in many different periods.

A variety of large stones are seen as megaliths, with the most widely known megaliths not being sepulchral. The construction of these structures took place mainly in the Neolithic (though earlier Mesolithic examples are known) and continued into the Chalcolithic and Bronze Age.

At a number of sites in eastern Turkey, large ceremonial complexes from the 9th millennium BC have been discovered. They belong to the incipient phases of agriculture and animal husbandry. Large circular structures involving carved megalithic orthostats are a typical feature, e.g. at Nevali Cori and Gobekli Tepe.

Although these structures are the most ancient megalithic structures known so far, it is not clear that any of the European Megalithic traditions (see below) are actually derived from them. At Göbekli Tepe four stone circles have been excavated from an estimated 20. Some measure up to 30 metres across. The stones carry carved reliefs of boars, foxes, lions, birds, snakes and scorpions.

Dolmens and standing stones have been found in large areas of the Middle East starting at the Turkish border in the north of Syria close to Aleppo, southwards down to Yemen. They can be encountered in Lebanon, Syria, Israel, Jordan, and Saudi Arabia. Megaliths have also been found on Kharg Island in Iran and at Barda Balka in Iraq.

The most concentrated occurrence of dolmen in particular is in a large area on both sides of the Jordan Rift Valley, with greater predominance on the eastern side. They occur first and foremost on the Golan Heights, the Hauran, and in Jordan, which probably has the largest concentration of dolmen in the Middle East.

In Saudi Arabia, only very few dolmen have been identified so far in the Hejaz. They seem, however, to re-emerge in Yemen in small numbers, and thus could indicate a continuous tradition related to those of Somalia and Ethiopia.

The standing stone has a very ancient tradition in the Middle East, dating back from Mesopotamian times. Although not always ‘megalithic’ in the true sense, they occur throughout the Orient, and can reach 5 metres or more in some cases (such as Ader in Jordan).

This phenomenon can also be traced through many passages from the Old Testament, such as those related to Jacob, the grandson of Abraham, who poured oil over a stone that he erected after his famous dream in which angels climbed to heaven (Genesis 28:10-22).

Jacob is also described as putting up stones at other occasions, whereas Moses erected twelve pillars symbolizing the tribes of Israel. The tradition of venerating (standing) stones continued in Nabatean times and is reflected in, e.g., the Islamic rituals surrounding the Kaaba and nearby pillars. Related phenomena, such as cupholes, rock-cut tombs and circles also occur in the Middle East.

In Western Europe and the Mediterranean, megaliths are, in general, constructions erected during the Neolithic or late stone age and Chalcolithic or Copper Age (4500-1500 BC). Perhaps the most famous megalithic structure is Stonehenge in England, although many others are known throughout the world.

The French Comte de Caylus was the first to describe the Carnac stones. Pierre Jean-Baptiste Legrand d’Aussy introduced the terms menhir and dolmen, both taken from the Breton language, into antiquarian terminology. He interpreted megaliths as gallic tombs. In Britain, the antiquarians Aubrey and Stukeley conducted early research into megaliths.

In Belgium, there is a megalithic site at Wéris, a little town situated in the Ardennes. In the Netherlands, megalithic structures can be found in the northeast of the country, mostly in the province of Drenthe. Knowth is a passage grave of the Brú na Bóinne neolithic complex in Ireland, dating from c.3500-3000 BC. It contains more than a third of the total number of examples of megalithic art in all Western Europe, with over 200 decorated stones found during excavations.

Nabta Playa at the southwest corner of the western Egyptian desert was once a large lake in the Nubian Desert, located 500 miles south of modern-day Cairo. By the 5th millennium BC, the peoples in Nabta Playa had fashioned the world’s earliest known astronomical device, 1,000 years older than, but comparable to, Stonehenge.

Research shows it to be a prehistoric calendar that accurately marks the summer solstice. Findings indicate that the region was occupied only seasonally, likely only in the summer when the local lake filled with water for grazing cattle. There are other megalithic stone circles in the southwestern desert.


Timeline of megalithic construction


  • c. 10950 BC: Construction in Asia Minor (Göbekli Tepe); from proto-Hattian or else a yet-to-be-discovered culture (the oldest religious structure in the world).
  • Submerged by around 9350 ± 200 yr B.P: a 12m long monolith probably weighing around 15000 kg found 40m under water in the Strait of Sicily south-west of Sicily whose function is unknown.
  • c. 9097 ± 445 yr B.P: Quinta da Queimada Menir in western Algarve (Portugal); "a very early period of megalithic activity in the Algarve, older than in the rest of Europe and in parallel, to some extent, with the famous Anatolian site of Göbekli Tepe (Schmidt 2001)"


  • c. 7000 BC: Construction in proto-Canaanite Israel (Atlit Yam).
  • c. 6000 BC: Constructions in Portugal (Almendres Cromlech, Évora)
  • c. 5000 BC: Emergence of the Atlantic Neolithic period, the age of agriculture along the western shores of Europe during the sixth millennium BC pottery culture of La Almagra, Spain near by, perhaps precedent from Africa.
  • c. 4850 BC: Constructions in Malta (Skorba temples).
  • c. 4800 BC: Constructions in Brittany (Barnenez) and Poitou (Bougon).
  • c. 4500 BC: Constructions in south Egypt (Nabta Playa).
  • c. 4000 BC: Constructions in Brittany (Carnac), Portugal (Great Dolmen of Zambujeiro, Évora), France (central and southern), Corsica, Spain (Galicia), England and Wales, Constructions in Andalusia, Spain (Villa Martín, Cádiz), Construction in proto-Canaanite Israel c. 4000~3000 BC: Constructions in the rest of the proto-Canaanite Levant, e.g. Rujm el-Hiri and dolmens.
  • c. 3700 BC: Constructions in Ireland (Knockiveagh and elsewhere).
  • c. 3600 BC: Constructions in England (Maumbury Rings and Godmanchester), and Malta (Ġgantija and Mnajdra temples).
  • c. 3500 BC: Constructions in Spain (Málaga and Guadiana), Ireland (south-west), France (Arles and the north), Malta (and elsewhere in the Mediterranean), Belgium (north-east), and Germany (central and south-west).
  • c. 3400 BC: Constructions in Sardinia (circular graves), Ireland (Newgrange), Netherlands (north-east), Germany (northern and central) Sweden and Denmark.
  • c. 3300 BC: Constructions in France (Carnac stones)
  • c. 3200 BC: Constructions in Malta (Ħaġar Qim and Tarxien).
  • c. 3100 BC: Constructions in Russia (Dolmens of North Caucasus)
  • c. 3000 BC: Constructions in Sardinia (earliest construction phase of the prehistoric altar of Monte d'Accoddi), France (Saumur, Dordogne, Languedoc, Biscay, and the Mediterranean coast), Spain (Los Millares), Sicily, Belgium (Ardennes), and Orkney, as well as the first henges (circular earthworks) in Britain.


  • c. 2500 BC: Constructions in Brittany (Le Menec, Kermario and elsewhere), Italy (Otranto), Sardinia, and Scotland (northeast), plus the climax of the megalithic Bell-beaker culture in Iberia, Germany, and the British Isles (stone circle at Stonehenge). With the bell-beakers, the Neolithic period gave way to the Chalcolithic, the age of copper.

    Bronze Age

  • c. 2000 BC: Constructions in Brittany (Er Grah), Italy : (Bari); Sicily (Cava dei Servi, Cava Lazzaro);, and Scotland (Callanish). The Chalcolithic period gave way to the Bronze Age in western and northern Europe.
  • c. 1800 BC: Constructions in Italy (Giovinazzo, in Sardinia started the nuragic civilisation).
  • c. 1500 BC: Constructions in Portugal (Alter Pedroso and Mourela).


Göbekli Tepe

Göbekli Tepe


Nabta Playa

Nabta Playa was once a large basin in the Nubian Desert, located approximately 800 kilometers south of modern day Cairo or about 100 kilometers west of Abu Simbel in southern Egypt, 22° 32′ north, 30° 42′ east. Today the region is characterized by numerous archaeological sites.

Although at present the western Egyptian desert is totally dry, this was not the case in the past. There is good evidence that there were several humid periods in the past (when up to 500 mm of rain would fall per year) the most recent one during the last interglacial and early last glaciation periods which stretched between 130,000 and 70,000 years ago. During this time, the area was a savanna and supported numerous animals such as extinct buffalo and large giraffes, varieties of antelope and gazelle. Beginning around the 10th millennium BC, this region of the Nubian Desert began to receive more rainfall, filling a lake. Early people may have been attracted to the region due to the source of water.

Archaeological findings may indicate human occupation in the region dating to at least somewhere around the 10th and 8th millennia BC. Fred Wendorf and Christopher Ehret have suggested that the people who occupied this region at that time were early pastoralists, or like the Saami practiced semi-pastoralism (although this is disputed by other sources because the cattle remains found at Nabta have been shown to be morphologically wild in several studies, and nearby Saharan sites such as Uan Afada in Libya were penning wild Barbary sheep, an animal that was never domesticated). The people of that time consumed and stored wild sorghum, and used ceramics adorned by complicated painted patterns created perhaps by using combs made from fish bone and which belong to a general pottery tradition strongly associated with the southern parts of the sahara (e.g., of the Khartoum mesolithic and various contemporary sites in Chad) of that period.

Analysis of human remains by archaeologist Fred Wendorf and reported in “Holocene settlement of the Egyptian Sahara”, based on osteological data suggests a subsaharan origin for the site’s inhabitants. Several scholars also support a Nilo-Saharan linguistic affinity for the Nabta people; including the site’s discoverer, archaeologist Fred Wendorf and the linguist, Christopher Ehret.

By the 7th millennium BC, exceedingly large and organized settlements were found in the region, relying on deep wells for sources of water. Huts were constructed in straight rows. Sustenance included fruit, legumes, millets, sorghum and tubers.

Also in the late 7th millennium BC, but a little later than the time referred to above, imported goats and sheep, apparently from Southwest Asia, appear. Many large hearths also appear.

By the 6th millennium BC, evidence of a prehistoric religion or cult appears, with a number of sacrificed cattle buried in stone-roofed chambers lined with clay. It has been suggested that the associated cattle cult indicated in Nabta Playa marks an early evolution of Ancient Egypt’s Hathor cult.

By the 5th millennium BC these peoples had fashioned one of the world’s earliest known archeoastronomical devices (roughly contemporary to the Goseck circle in Germany and the Mnajdra megalithic temple complex in Malta). Research suggests that it may have been a prehistoric “calendar” marking the summer solstice.

Nabta Playa


Zorats Karer

Zorats Karer, also called Karahunj or Carahunge) is an ancient archaeological site near the city of Sisian in the Syunik province of Armenia.

Zorats Karer


Megalithic culture

Haplogrupa I2

Haplogrupa I2 - stablo

Haplogrupa İ2 je u ljudskoj genetici, haplogrupa muških Y-kromosoma u jugoistočnoj Europi i prednjoj Aziji.

Iz haplogrupe I2 proizlaze I2a, I2b i I2c.


Haplogrupa I2c

 I2C (L596, L597) može se podijeliti u četiri skupine: A, AB, B i C.

  • Groupa A geografski ograničena u Švicarsku, Njemačku, Nizozemsku, Švedsku, Poljsku, Veliku Britaniju i Irsku.
  • Groupa AB je pronađena u sjeverozapadnom Iranu, oko Kavkaza (Armenija i Gruzija), u Turskoj i Francuskoj.
  • Groupa B nalazi se u niskim frekvencijama u zapadnoj Aziji (Turska, Gruzija, Sjeverne Osetije, Armenije, Azerbaijian i sjeverozapadnog Irana), u jugoistočnoj Europi (Moldaviji, Rumunjski, Bugarski, Albaniji, Kreti), u Balto-slavenskim zemljama (Rusiji, Ukrajini, Bjelorusiji, Litvi, Poljskoj, Slovačkoj, Češkoj), kao u Njemačkoj, Austriji, Italiji, Španjolskoj i Velikoj Britaniji.
  • Groupa C ima sličan raspored kao i A skupina, također pronađen u Francuskoj, Italiji i Norveškoj.


Haplogrupa I2b

I2b (L416, L417, L418) je vrlo mali subclade zabilježen je u samo nekoliko uzoraka iz Italije, Njemačke, Škotske i Irana


Haplogoupa I2a

Distribucija Haplogrupe I2a

Distribucija Haplogrupe I2a1

Haplotip I2a1b tipična je za dinarske i kavkaske etnogrupe, ponajviše kao 1/2 do 3/4 pučanstva za Hrvate, islamske Bošnjake, Crnogorce, kavkaske Swanete, Dargyne i kurdske Delamite (Zazaki), zatim manje oko 1/4 do 1/3 populacije za zapadne Srbe (jekavski Prečani), Moldavce, ine Kurde, Abhaze i Teheran, a rjedje s nižim udjelom za ostale susjedne narode jugoistočne Europe i prednje Azije tj. Starog istoka.

  1. 1/2 do 3/4 pučanstvo Hrvatske, islamski Bošnjaci, Crnogorci
  2. 1/4 do 1/3 pučanstvo Srbje (jekavski Prečani), Moldavci, Kurdi, Abhaze i Teheran
  3. 1/2 do 3/4 kavkaski Swanete, Dargyne i kurdski Delamite (Zazaki)
  4. (İ2a1/Eu8) starosjedioci na Sardiniji i s manjim udjelima u Baskiji, Italiji, Francuskoj...


Megalithic culture

Haplogroup R-L754 > R-V88

Haplogroup R-V88

R1b1a2 (R-V88)

R1b1a2 (PF6279/V88; previously R1b1c) is defined by the presence of SNP marker V88, the discovery of which was announced in 2010 by Cruciani et al. Apart from individuals in southern Europe and Western Asia, the majority of R-V88 was found in the Sahel, especially among populations speaking Afroasiatic languages of the Chadic branch.

Studies in 2005–08 reported "R1b*" at high levels in Jordan, Egypt and Sudan. However, subsequent research indicates that the samples concerned most likely belong to the subclade R-V88, which is now concentrated in Sub-Saharan Africa, following migration from Asia.

Two branches of R-V88, R-M18 and R-V35, are found almost exclusively on the island of Sardinia.

As can be seen in the above data table, R-V88 is found in northern Cameroon in west central Africa at a very high frequency, where it is considered to be caused by a pre-Islamic movement of people from Eurasia. On the other hand, Gonzalez et al (2013) found that patterns of diversity in African R1b-V88 did not fit with a movement of Chadic-speaking people from the North across the Sahara to West-Central Africa, but was compatible with the reverse, an origin of the V88 lineages in Central-West Africa, followed by migration to North Africa.


Megalithic culture

Haplogroup I (mtDNA)

Haplogroup I (mtDNA)

Haplogroup I is a human mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) haplogroup. It is believed to have originated about 21,000 years ago, during the Last Glacial Maximum (LGM) period in West Asia ((Olivieri 2013); Terreros 2011; Fernandes 2012). The haplogroup is unusual in that it is now widely distributed geographically, but is common in only a few small areas of East Africa, West Asia and Europe. It is especially common among the El Molo and Rendille peoples of Kenya, various regions of Iran, the Lemko people of Slovakia, Poland and Ukraine, the island of Krk in Croatia, the department of Finistère in France and some parts of Scotland.


Haplogroup I is a descendant (subclade) of haplogroup N1a1b and sibling of haplogroup N1a1b1 (Olivieri 2013). It is believed to have arisen somewhere in West Asia between 17,263 and 24,451 years before present (BP) (Behar 2012b), with coalescence age of 20.1 thousand years ago (Olivieri 2013). It has been suggested that its origin may be in Iran or more generally the Near East (Terreros 2011). It has diverged to at least seven distinct clades i.e. branches I1-I7, dated between 16-6.8 thousand years (Olivieri 2013). The hypothesis about its Near Eastern origin is based on the fact that all haplogroup I clades, especially those from Late Glacial period (I1, I4, I5, and I6), include mitogenomes from the Near East (Olivieri 2013). The age estimates and dispersal of some subclades (I1, I2’3, I5) are similar to those of major subclades of the mtDNA haplogroups J and T, indicating possible dispersal of the I haplogroup into Europe during the Late Glacial period (c. 18–12 kya) and postglacial period (c. 10–11 kya), several millennia before the European Neolithic period. Some subclades (I1a1, I2, I1c1, I3) show signs of the Neolithic diffusion of agriculture and pastoralism within Europe (Olivieri 2013).

It is noteworthy that, with the exception of its northern neighbor Azerbaijan, Iran is the only population in which haplogroup I exhibits polymorphic levels. Also, a contour plot based on the regional phylogeographic distribution of the I haplogroup exhibits frequency clines consistent with an Iranian cradle ... Moreover, when compared with other populations in the region, those from the Levant (Iraq, Syria and Palestine) and the Arabian Peninsula (Oman and UAE) exhibit significantly lower proportions of I individuals ... this haplogroup has been detected in European groups (Krk, a tiny island off the coast of Croatia (11.3%), and Lemko, an isolate from the Carpathian Highlands (11.3%)) at comparable frequencies to those observed in the North Iranian population. However, the higher frequencies of the haplogroup within Europe are found in geographical isolates and are likely the result of founder effects and/or drift ... it is plausible that the high levels of haplogroup I present in Iran may be the result of a localized enrichment through the action of genetic drift or may signal geographical proximity to the location of origin.
— Terreros 2011

A similar view puts more emphasis on the Persian Gulf region of the Near East (Fernandes 2012).
Haplogroup I ... dates to ∼25 ka ago and is overall most frequent in Europe ..., but the facts that it has a frequency peak in the Gulf region and that its highest diversity values are in the Gulf, Anatolia, and southeast Europe suggest that its origin is most likely in the Near East and/or Arabia ...
— Fernandes 2012


Funnelbeaker culture, c. 4300

Haplogroup I (mtDNA)

Funnelbeaker culture

Pojavom poljodjelstva u Danskoj i krčenjem stjenovitih područja osiguralo je materijal za gradnju ogromnih kamenih spomenika (megalita) koji se javljaju na sjeveru današnje Danske.


Dolmen Basque

Sorginetxe dolmen next to the stream and cave Lezao, home to legends featuring mythological character Mari.


Dolmen u Dalmaciji

Tugare, zaseok Truše

Struktura ima sve značajke dolmen i definitivno izgleda kao jedan. To je na Wikipediji na dolmens: dolmen , također poznat kao kromleh , portal grobnice , portalnu grobnice ili alka je vrsta jednokomorni megalitskog grobnice , obično se sastoje od dva ili više uspravnih kamenja podržava veliku ravnu horizontalnu završni kamen (tablica ), iako postoje i složenije varijante. Većina datuma iz ranog neolita razdoblja (4000 do 3000 prije Krista). Dolmeni su obično bili pokriveni zemljanim ili manjim kamenjem da bi se formirala barrow . U mnogim je slučajevima taj pokrov bio odstranjen, ostavljajući samo kameni "kostur" grobnice netaknut.

Dolmeni su karakteristični za većinu Europe i Azije, ali gotovo u Hrvatskoj nisu otkriveni. Postoji samo jedan na otoku Cresu:


Falus (čunčur) u Dalmaciji

Granica Trogira i Splita (falus)

Arheolozi su 1999. godine u Spili (kod zaseoka Nakovana, između Orebića i Lovišta na poluotoku Pelješcu u Dalmaciji) u jednoj dobro skrivenoj dvorani špilje pronašli ilirsko svetište plodnosti. Nalazilo se u središtu pećine u kojemu je centralni kultni simbol bio stalagmit u obliku falusa.


Megalithic Construction

Dolmens = tombs resembling “houses of the dead,” the walls are upright stones and the roof is a single giant slab

Cromlechs = a circle of large upright stones, or Dolmens

Menhirs = simplest megalithic form, unpright slabs that served as grave markers

Corbeling = rows or layers of stone laid with the end of each row projecting beyond the row beneath, progressing until layers almost meet and can be capped with a stone that rests on both layers


Prehistoric Construction Techniques

The earliest examples of stone masonry in both the 'Old' and 'New' worlds demonstrates a high skill level, something which is often suggested as being a result of the existing knowledge of carpentry at the transition in working from wood to stone. This idea is borne out somewhat in Egypt where for example, the masonry of the ceilings in the temples of 1st dynasty Saqqara were carved to imitate the 'reed-bundle' ceilings of pre-dynastic Egypt. There is however, no evidence of such a transition in the Americas.

The transport and use of unnecessarily large blocks of stone, the specific selectivity of stone type along with various examples of 'extreme' masonry at numerous sacred and ancient monuments is starting to reveal a reverence for stone itself, an idea which has foundation in mythology, religion and can still be seen today at Jerusalem, Mecca, the 'Lignum' of India and at the crowning of any new king or Queen in UK (i.e. Scottish 'Stone-of-scone', English 'kings-stone') etc.

It is noticeable that there are several specific construction techniques in the masonry of (apparently unrelated) cultures from around the ancient world. The specific similarity in design, technique and engineering skills is, in  certain cases very suggestive of a common source of knowledge, or at the least - of contact between cultures. In response, it has been argued that such similarities are 'co-evolutionary', being the natural result of working with stone.

The following examples demonstrate the sophisticated skills of the prehistoric masons.

Folded Corners

Several structures show the blocks cut with an internal angle, so as to 'fold' the stone around corner's. It is suggested that this was incorporated as an earthquake 'preventative'.


Valley-Temple, Ghiza, Egypt. - There are several stones with this design feature in the valley-temple. It is interesting to note that the stones  have been cut so as to continue only a short distance around the corner which hints at the idea that style might have been involved (rather than, or as well as, function).

Luxor, Egypt. (Left), Machu Pichu, Peru (Right)

Multi Facetted Stones

It is often suggested that this design feature was incorporated into constructions as an 'earthquake' preventative. The fact that the constructions exist in such good condition after so long, in itself supports this idea.

Multi-faceted stones - Valley-temple, Ghiza, Egypt

While the Egyptian examples (above), followed a horizontal plane, the South American examples (below), are polygonal, apparently following neither vertical nor horizontal planes, a process which would have required a considerably higher level of technical skill. 

The Inca masonry of south America is probably the finest the world has ever seen. 

S. America, Cuzco. 'Stone of the twelve Angels'. (2)

Sacsayhuaman - One of the greatest walls of all time

One of the 300 Ahu Platforms surrounding Easter Island. Made of Basalt and with blocks several tons each, The style of masonry shows a stark similarity to South American masonry examples above.

Metal Block-Ties

Another construction feature commonly suggested as an earthquake preventative is the means used to join huge blocks together. It is believed that copper (or silver) was used at Tiahuanaco (below), both of which are soft metals.

Some examples from the 'Old-World' (Namely Egypt, and Cambodia)..

From left to right: Angkor Watt,  Karnak, and Denderra

And from the 'New-World'.: Tiahuanaco, and  Ollantaytambo

It has also been suggested that these 'ties' were employed to 'ground' structures properly (often made of conducting Quartzite).

Quarry-Marks (for splitting stone)

The megalithic builders employed the same method of splitting quartz, at different locations all around the world. This is not unusual, as it is probably the best method, and is still widely used today. By far the easiest way of splitting Quartz stone is to chip a series of holes into the stone, which are then packed with 'wedges and shims' (made of wood). Following the addition of water, the wedges expanded and the stone splits along the line.

Examples from S. America: Left: Machu Pichu (1) and Right: Cuzco.

From Egypt: Menkaure's pyramid, Giza (left), and at Aswan (right)

From Carnac, France, (left), and Castleruddery, Ireland (right)

More examples from Portugal (left), and From Malta (right).

(Click here for more on this subject

'Manoeuvring Protuberances'

These small protuberances are found on the oldest (and arguably most sacred) Egypt and South American constructions. They are generally assumed to have functioned as 'hitching points' for manoeuvring the blocks into place, however there are several examples where they have been left as if to demonstrate some other meaning...

The 'Boss' mark on the stone above the passage entry into the 'King's chamber' in the great pyramid is often suggested as being the remains of one of these protuberances.

They are found on the exterior granite facing-stones of Menkaure's Pyramid at Giza.

It is possible to see how the process of smoothing off of the granite casing stones was started on the Eastern face of Menkaures pyramid. The smoothing process was achieved with the use of Dolerite mauls which were able to pound the softer granite. This process can still be seen today at the Aswan granite quarries, where the granite for Giza originally came from.

The same marks are also found in the Osireion, at Abydoss. One of the several reasons to support the theory that it was contemporary with the Valley temple at Ghiza.

Similar 'protuberances' can be seen at several Inca sites in South America.

At Ollantaytambo, Peru, the 'protuberances' take on a whole different meaning altogether, as they could almost be classed as stylised over functional.

Although both locations have the same 'protuberances', the Inca block-work was multi-faceted, while at Ghiza, they were laid in even courses.

Mortise and Tenon Joints

It is perhaps surprising to find that some of the earliest known examples of masonry exhibit a sophisticated understanding of joinery. This particular construction feature is reasonably explained as having followed the transition from building structures first from wood then stone.


Some examples of the Various 'Mortise and Tenon' joins used in the construction of The Osirion, at Abydoss, in Egypt. This is considered one of the oldest buildings in Egypt, and is quoted as having only one other structure of contemporary design, that being the Valley-Temple at Giza. Both structures used the technique of continuous-lintelled trilithon's, seen also at Stonehenge III.

(Click here for a comparison of the two structures)

Mortise-and-tenon joints had, of course, been used previously in Bronze Age ships in Egypt, as in the construction of the Khufu’s boat at Giza (ca. 2600 B. C.) and Senwosret III’s boats (ca. 1850 B.C.) at Dashur (Lipke 1984, 64; Steffy 1994, 25-27, 32-36, Patch and Haldane 1990).  These early Egyptian examples of mortise-and-tenons, however, were freestanding and not pegged to lock adjacent strakes to one another.  Rather, their primary function was to align the planks during construction, which were then fastened to each other with ligatures.  This tradition of shipbuilding appears to have persisted at least as late as the 5th century B.C. when Herodotus observed nearly identical construction methods still in use in Egypt.  In his oft-cited quotation, Herodotus noted that short planks were joined to each other with long, close-set tenons, which were then bound in the seams from within with papyrus fibers (Haldane & Shelmerdine 1990).  There is no mention of locking the close-set tenons with pegs.  The Egyptians were, however, fully aware of pegged mortise-and-tenon joints at last since the Old Kingdom (Dynasty III: ca. 2700-2600 B. C.) and used them in woodwork requiring this type of fastening (Lucas & Harris 1962, 451), but, as far as we can determine, they did not resort to their use in shipbuilding, unless they restricted their use to seagoing ships only, for which we have surviving examples. (9)

The Stonehenge Sarsen Stones: In its complete form the outermost stone setting would have consisted of a circle of 30 upright sarsen stones, of which 17 still stand, each weighing about 25 tons. The tops of these uprights were linked by a continuous ring of horizontal sarsen lintels, only a small part of which is now still in position. The stones in the sarsen circle were carefully shaped and the horizontal lintels joined not only by means of simple mortise-and-tenon joints, but they were also locked using what is effectively a dovetail joint. The edges were smoothed into a gentle curve which follows the line of the entire circle.

The sarsen-ring at Stonehenge (whose official inner diameter is 97ft or 1162.8 primitive inches), has a circumference of 3652.4 primitive inches. Note: This is also exactly one ‘quarter-aroura’, as measured in ancient Egypt (1). Sir Norman Lockyer also detected similarities between the masonry of the Blood/Chalice-well at Glastonbury and that which he had seen in Egypt.


The pictures above illustrate the sophisticated construction techniques applied to the Stonehenge sarsen-stones, which are dated at approximately 2,500 BC, however if we follow Lockyer's lead, and look closer at Egyptian masonry, we find similar features were applied to construction of the the Osirion (above), a temple dated to a far earlier time, and a site suggested by Lockyer to have alignments suggesting an association to the summer-solstice sunrise (2).

(More about Stonehenge)

And finally, from the Indus Valley Culture...

This incredible stone casting is from Harappa in Pakistan (c. 2,500-2,100 BC).

Prehistoric Drilling

It was claimed by Petrie that early dynastic Egyptians used drills for some of their constructions. The following images suggest he was right.

Evidence for drilling in ancient Egypt. Marks in the kings-coffer suggest that it too was hollowed by core-drilling. 

The Capstones of Pierres Plates in France have what appear to be drill-marks on the top-sides.

The 'Drill-marks' on some stones match those on others, suggesting they were split in half.

(More about Pierres plates)

Surgical Drilling in Prehistory

Although not directly connected with construction, evidence for drilling goes back several thousand years, as testified by the numerous examples of prehistoric dentistry and Trepanning, both involving drilling procedures.

Article: MSNBC (2006) - Proving prehistoric man’s ingenuity and ability to withstand and inflict excruciating pain, researchers have found that dental drilling dates back 9,000 years.

Primitive dentists drilled nearly perfect holes into live but undoubtedly unhappy patients between 5500 B.C. and 7000 B.C., an article in Thursday’s issue of the journal Nature reports. Researchers carbon-dated at least nine skulls with 11 drill holes found in a Pakistan graveyard.

Trepanation: Skulls with signs of trepanning were found practically in all parts of the world where man has lived. Trepanning is probably the oldest surgical operation known to man: evidence for it goes back as far as in 40,000 year-old Cro-Magnon sites. The Egyptians invented the circular trephine, made by a tube with serrated borders, which cuts much easier by means of rotation, and which was then extensively used in Greece and Rome, and gave origin to the "crown" trephine, used in Europe from the first to the 19th century.

(Link to full article: )

(More about Prehistoric Surgery)

Hundreds of uniformly drilled holes on the stones at Mnajdra, Malta.

(More about Drilling in Prehistory

The Use of Concrete in Ancient Structures

'The Hair in the Rock', Egypt: Prof. Dr. Joseph Davidovits of the French Geopolymer Institute discovered a hair sticking out of a boulder of the Cheops (Khufu) pyramid of Giza). He concluded that either the hair was older than the rock surrounding it, (meaning the rock formed later), or the boulder is synthetic. Either of which is pretty amazing.

Examination and measurements of the boulders used in building the pyramid show an unusually high moisture content (apparently the kind one would expect to find in concrete).

The photo (right), is from the pavement surrounding the pyramids at Giza. It has been shown that this pavement was  accurately levelled to less than 0.5 inch across the whole site, which makes it a spectacular masonry achievement in its own right. However, of more immediate interest is the thin sliver of limestone that has remained next to the black basalt rock behind it.

The original advocate for this theory was Prof. Dr. Joseph Davidovits, whose original statements in the 1980's were at first ridiculed, but which have now, following rigorous analysis, appear to have been reasonably substantiated. The following scientific treaty was written in 2006 and supports Davidovit's original theory. (Although Egyptologists still adamantly refuse to accept such an idea it is gradually gaining  support).

Article: Science Daily. 2006: Professor Finds Some Pyramid Building Blocks Were Concrete.

In partially solving a mystery that has baffled archaeologists for centuries, a Drexel University professor has determined that the Great Pyramids of Giza were constructed with a combination of not only carved stones but the first blocks of limestone-based concrete cast by any civilization.

The longstanding belief is that the pyramids were constructed with limestone blocks that were cut to shape in nearby quarries using copper tools, transported to the pyramid sites, hauled up ramps and hoisted in place with the help of wedges and levers. Barsoum argues that although indeed the majority of the stones were carved and hoisted into place, crucial parts were not. The ancient builders cast the blocks of the outer and inner casings and, most likely, the upper parts of the pyramids using a limestone concrete, called a geopolymer.

The type of concrete pyramid builders used could reduce pollution and outlast Portland cement, the most common type of modern cement. Portland cement injects a large amount of the world's carbon dioxide into the atmosphere and has a lifespan of about 150 years. If widely used, a geopolymer such as the one used in the construction of the pyramids can reduce that amount of pollution by 90 percent and last much longer. The raw materials used to produce the concrete used in the pyramids -- lime, limestone and diatomaceous earth -- can be found worldwide and is affordable enough to be an important construction material for developing countries.

(Click here for  full article)

As well as the suggestion that the blocks themselves may have been  made of cement, Petrie  himself identified that it was also used between the blocks. The whole of the Great pyramid was originally covered with a coat of polished limestone blocks. The faces of these blocks have butting surfaces cut to within 1/100 of an inch of mathematical perfection. Petrie said this of it:

...'the mean variation of the cutting of the stone from a straight line and from a true square is but 0.1 inch in a length of 75inches up the face, an amount of accuracy equal to the most modern opticians' straight edges of such a length. These joints, with an area of some 35 square feet each, were not only worked as finely as this, but were cemented throughout. Though the stones were brought as close as 1/500 of an inch, or, in fact, into contact, and the mean opening of the join was 1/50 of an inch, yet the builders managed to fill the joint with cement, despite the great area of it, and the weight of the stone to be moved- some 16 tons. To merely place such stones in exact contact at the sides would be careful work, but to do so with cement in the joints seems almost impossible'. (8)

The highly polished limestone casing stones that covered the pyramid were fixed with a 'fine aluminosilicate cement'. The finished pyramid contained approximately 115,000 of these stones, each weighing ten tons or more. These stones were dressed on all six of their sides, not just the side exposed to the visible surface, to tolerances of .01 inch. They were set together so closely that a thin razor blade could not be inserted between the stones.

Egyptologist Petrie expressed his astonishment of this feat by writing: - 'Merely to place such stones in exact contact would be careful work, but to do so with cement in the joint seems almost impossible; it is to be compared to the finest opticians' work on the scale of acres".

Extract from Petrie - The use of plaster by the Egyptians is remarkable; and their skill in cementing joints is hard to understand. How, in the casing of the Great Pyramid, they could fill with cement a vertical joint about 5 X 7 feet in area, and only averaging 1/50 inch thick is a mystery; more especially as the joint could not be thinned by rubbing, owing to its being a vertical joint, and the block weighing about 16 tons. Yet this was the usual work over 13 acres of surface, with tens of thousands of casing stones, none less than a ton in weight.

Extract from Petrie -   From several indications it seems that the masons planned the casing and some at least of the core masonry also, course by course on the ground. For on all the casing, and on the core on which the casing fitted, there are lines drawn on the horizontal surfaces, showing where each stone was to be placed on those below it. If the stones were merely trimmed to fit each other as the building went on, there would be no need to have so carefully marked the place of each block in this particular way; and it shows that they were probably planned and fitted together on the ground below. Another indication of very careful and elaborate planning on the ground is in the topmost space over the King's Chamber; there the roofing-beams were numbered, and marked for the north or south sides; and though it might be thought that it could be of no consequence in what order they were placed, yet all their details were evidently schemed before they were delivered to the builders' hands. This care in arranging all the work agrees strikingly with the great employment of unskilled labourers during two or three months at a time, as they would then raise all the stones which the masons had worked and stored ready for use since the preceding season.

(Other examples of extreme Egyptian masonry)

Maltese concrete (Torba)

Ggantija, Malta -  The temples on Malta are claimed to be some of the oldest free-standing temples in the world. A. Service (6), mentions the 'contemporary cement of the floor' in the pavement of the Ggantija temple on Gozo, Malta (see left), and although the idea was not accepted for a long time, Maltese archaeologists are now of the opinion that Torba (as it is called on Malta), was formed by compacting crumbled rock and rock dust then adding water (7), creating a tough and durable rock-like material on-par with the best and strongest concrete used today.

The pictures below show how some of the temple floors were paved with huge stones, a process also visible at several Maltese temples (Tarxien, left and Ggantija, right).

(More about the Constructions of Prehistoric Malta)

The Specific Selection of Stone:

While it is apparent that the megalithic builders showed a preference for certain stone types, the reason for this has yet to be explained satisfactorily. The extra distance and effort required to employ specific stones in ancient structures offers us with a clue as to the possible motivation of the builders.

The immense White-quartz, portal-stones at Castelruddery Henge-Circle in Ireland.

(More about the Specific Selection of Stone in Prehistory)


The Megalithic Yard

Prehistoric Maths

The survey carried out by Prof. Alexander Thom of over 300 European megalithic sites led him to conclude that the builders had used standard units of measurement which, along with a highly developed knowledge of geometry, (including Pythagorean principles), were used in the design of many of western Europe's most significant pre-historic constructions.

( 1 MY = 2.72 ft or 82.96 cm )

As Professor Thom observed in his book  Megalithic Sites in Britain (1967):

“It is remarkable that one thousand years before the earliest mathematicians of classical Greece, people in these islands not only had a practical knowledge of geometry and were capable of setting out elaborate geometrical designs but could also set out ellipses based on the Pythagorean triangles.”

Prof. Alexander Thom (1894-1985)

Alexander Thom was born in Scotland in 1894. He became a Professor of engineering at Oxford university, and held the position for over fifteen years from 1945 till he retired in 1961. He died in 1985.

Thom   believed that stone circles were astronomical observatories and in 1951 he published an article in the Journal of the British Astronomical Association entitled. 'The Solar Observations of Megalithic Man'.

Thom initially undertook a statistical analysis of 46 stone circles and by plotting his measurements on a graph, he noted that many of the diameters of the stone circles came clumped together in groups, there were several examples with close to 22 foot (6.7 m) diameters, another group measuring c. 44 feet (13.4 m) across and another measuring c. 55 feet (16.8 m). A best fit for these results implied a common factor of 5.43 feet (1.65 m) which he believed could have served as a manageable unit for measuring out figures on the ground. In 1955, following this study, he published an article of his findings in the Journal of the Royal Statistical Society  entitled:  'A Statistical Examination of Megalithic Sites in Britain'.

(Thom went on to survey more than 300 sites, becoming increasingly convinced of the yard's existence).

Analytical methods employed by the British statisticians S.R. Broadbent and D.G. Kendall  indicate that the 1955 dataset has a 1% significance meaning that such a best fit would only occur in 1 in 100 random datasets. Other archaeo-statisticians consider Thom's original 5.43 feet, the so-called megalithic fathom to provide a more persuasive argument for a standard prehistoric measurement unit.

Books by Thom:

  • Megalithic Sites in Britain. Oxford Press. 1967.
  • Megalithic Lunar Observatories.  Oxford Press. 1971.
  • Megalithic Remains in Britain and Brittany. Oxford Press. 1978.

Thom also concluded that certain spirals had been drawn with a constant measurement which he termed the 'megalithic inch'

The Origin of the Megalithic Yard

The origin for this standard unit of measurement has been  suggested by Knight & Lomas (1), to be a product of the following procedure:

There are 366 sunrises per orbit of the sun, therefore one 366th part of the horizon = 1 megalithic degree. First place two posts at 1 degree apart on the horizon (They do not explain how this is done). Then swing a pendulum so that it beats 366 times in the time it takes a star to travel between the posts (This is a very specific request, which would require a metronome). The length of line required for the pendulum will be 16.32 inches in length = half a megalithic yard. (1)

Criticisms of their calculations still produce a result that is accurate to within a couple of millimetres. i.e. a line of 16.19" compared with Lomas' and knight's 16.32" - (A difference of only 0.13")

Follow this link to calculate this prehistoric measurement unit for yourself:

In a follow-up to this theory (2), it was argued that megalithic geometry was based on a 366˚ circle rather than the 360˚ circle that we use today. With each degree divided into 60 arc minutes, and each minute into 6 arc seconds, which would have resulted in each arc second having been equal to 366 Megalithic yards. If this theory is correct, the Megalithic yard would have been a perfect subdivision of the Earth's polar circumference: 40,008,000/(366x60x6x366)=0.8296 metres.

The idea of an ancient 366˚ division of the heavens has been suggested before, and may be gathering weight. In principle it is a reasonable suggestion, but evidence is suggesting that time was also measured according to the 'Metonic cycle' a combined solar and lunar cycle with a variation of only 2 hours over 19 solar years (or 235 lunations). In addition, there is also plenty of evidence that a division of 360˚ was used for the geodetic placement and internal geometry of the megaliths.

More about Ancient Geodesy

Robin Heath (3), suggested that the Megalithic yard was linked to the Metonic cycle, (in which the earth orbits the sun 18.6 times while the moon has 235 lunation's). He proposed that if the measurement of time is transferred to the measurement of space (i.e. each day = one Megalithic Inch 'MI'), then the difference between the solar and lunar cycles over a three year solar period amount to a deficit of 1.104812 lunation's, which amounts to 32.625 days: which if transferred into Megalithic Inches 'MI' (one MI = one solar day), equals 2.7188 ft.  A figure extremely close to Thom's estimate of 2.72 ft.

More about Archaeoastronomy

It has also been reasonably argued that as the results attained by Thom were merely averages, and that many circles show a slight variation on this measurement, (one that even Thom himself was at odds to explain), it is possible that the radius of circles and other prominent sites was simply determined by pacing rather than with a string and stakes as suggested by Thom. The length of the Megalithic Yard falls close to the average pace of an adult male (at 0.7m).

Examples of the Megalithic Yard

Stonehenge:  The Sarsen stones at Stonehenge are 2.5 MY wide, a length that is also known as a Megalithic Rod 'MR' The perimeter length of the sarsen ring measured 120 MY, and since the circle consists of 30 stones, the average stone spacing is 4 MY.

More about Stonehenge

Avebury:  Of great interest is the fact that the distance between the stone-centres at Avebury is 11.04m, a measurement which appears to conform especially to the stones of the inner circles. This measure however, does not fit with the theory of the Megalithic yard, amounting to 13.3 MY or 5.3 MR    (4), which suggests that there may have been other factors influencing the placement of these stones.

It is noticeable that although the Megalithic yard was not used for the seperation of the stones at Avebury, the geometric design (below) was discovered by Prof. Thom to have been used as the ground-plan of the site, (along with many other European   'Type I' and 'Type II' flattened  stone circles).

(Note: Both type I and II circles possess the Vesica-Pisces and 3:4:5 triangles)

More about Avebury

Carnac: "Thom and Thom (1978) make two significant claims with regard to the Carnac alignments: firstly that both the alignments themselves and the stone circles were laid out according to a precise geometry, with a standard unit of measurement (the ‘Megalithic Yard’), and secondly that the alignments form part of an extrapolation device for predicting eclipses, linked to a ‘lunar observatory’ centred on the Grand Menhir Brisée at Lochmariaquer.

More about Carnac

Estimates of the sizes of the stones of the original structure at Le Grand Menhir Brisè suggest the use of the MY in its construction.

Le Grand Menhir and the Megalithic yard

Megalithic Geometry

As long ago as the 1880s, Flinders Petrie, who accurately surveyed Stonehenge, stated that the inside diameter of the sarsen circle was intended to be 100 Roman feet or 97.318ft.  This is within one twentieth of an inch of its absolute value of 97.32096ft.

The Megalithic yard (32.4 inches) is virtually duplicated in the ancient Vara of Iberia (Iberia meaning 'Hebrews'), which was the former name for Spain and in the Gaz measurement of Northern India.

There is a substantial amount of evidence suggesting that prehistoric people were aware of geometry. The first recorded evidence of geometry came from Sir. N. Lockyer, who noticed that Stonehenge was geometrically aligned with both Grovely Castle and Old Sarum.

Other Geometric alignments

(Stone Circles and Measuring Wheels: An Article By Michael Spender)

Neolithic circular enclosures in Central Europe

Reconstruction of circular ditches at Heldenberg, Lower Austria

Neolithic circular enclosures in Central Europe


Goseck circle, c. 4900 BC

Drawing of the Goseck circle.
The yellow lines represent the direction in which the sun rises and sets at the winter solstice,
while the vertical line shows the astronomical meridian.

The structures known as Circular Enclosures built in Central Europe during the 5th millennium BCE have been interpreted as serving a cultic function. In the case of the Goseck circle. Many of these structures had openings aligned with sunset and/or sunrise at the solstices, suggesting that they served as a means of maintaining a lunisolar calendar. The construction of Megalithic monuments in Europe also began in the 5th millennium, and continued throughout the Neolithic and in some areas well into the early Bronze Age.


Stone circle

Stone circle


Bogovo gumno

Bogovo gumno je lokalitet u Srbiji, kod sela Skrobnica, u opštini Knjaževac. Nalazi se na obroncima planine Device, na brdu, na nadmorskoj visini oko 950m. Naziv lokaliteta je svakako neobičan. Kakvo je to gumno koje pripada Bogu?

Vuk Karadžić, u svom Riječniku Srpskog jezika o gumnu kaže sledeće:

“Gumno, n. Die Drefchtenne, area. U Crnoj Gori i onuda po primorju, gumna su postavljena i okolomaćena kamenom. Onamo se ponajviše po gumnima IGRA (jer su mnoge kuće po takovoj vrleti da valja tražiti mjesto gdje se može igrati) a i ljudi na kolomatu njihovom sjede i dogovaraju se za različne stvari. Među one stvari koje djevojci ne mogu dospeti, broji se onamo i gumno.”

Prema Vuku Karadžiću, gumno je, dakle, prostor okruglog oblika, namenjen prvenstveno za vršidbu žita.

Gumno u Orahovcu, u Boki kotorskoj

U centru gumna je po pravilu poboden kolac, stožer, za koga se vezuje konj, koji ide po žitu vukući za sobom nekakvu dasku, odvajajući na taj način zrno žita od pleve. Baš kako Vuk Karadžić kaže, prostor je zgodan i za okupljanja i naravno, ples. Taj ples podrazumeva KOLO (ili oro) gde igrači igraju u krug, držeći se za ruke. To su praktični aspekti jednog gumna, ali ne i njegovi jedini aspekti.

Gumno je mesto gde se odvijaju i različiti obredi, kojima se priziva plodnost i dobra žetva. U tu svrhu, na određeni dan se na gumnu kolje petao, tako da njegova krv poškropi stožer. U Rusiji, veruje se da na gumnu živi Gumnik ili Ovinik, mitsko biće koje se zamišlja kao starac bele brade, a koje je gospodar žetve. U Srbiji se veruje da se na pometnom (zapuštenom) gumnu skupljaju veštice, koje se tu namažu tajanstvenom veštičjom mašću, kako bi mogle da lete…

Gumna se pominju u narodnim pesmama: (ove stihove Vuk Karadžić navodi uz tekst o gumnu)

Igrah se zlatnom jabukom
Po polju, po medenome,
Po GUMNU, po srebrnome…

Ovi stihovi kriju u sebi simboliku. Bez simbolike bi bili po malo besmisleni. Jabuka je uobičajeni simbol za SUNCE. Da li to narodni pesnik saopštava da gumno može imati još jednu namenu: posmatranje Sunca? Zar nije krug kod Gosecka u Nemačkoj, za koji je dokazano da je imao baš takvu svrhu i to još u ranom neolitu, nalik na jedno veliko gumno?

Krug kod Gosecka u Nemačkoj, star 6700-6900 godina; njegova astronomska namena je dokazana

Gumna su, očigledno, važna. Koliko bi tek moglo da bude važno jedno gumno koje je posvećeno najvišem principu, Bogu? To je svakako dovoljan razlog da se taj lokalitet bolje pogleda.

Na sledećoj slici je lokalitet Bogovo gumno, snimljen iz vazduha. Jasno se uočavaju dve kružne formacije, veća je prečnika 117m, manja 80m. Izračunat obim većeg kruga je 367,8m, pa 1° obima iznosi 1,02m. Manji krug je oštećen, neko je pokušao da ga ore. Ipak, na terenu se lako nalaze tragovi ograde čak i tamo gde se na snimku iz vazduha čini da je nema.

Bogovo Gumno, snimljeno iz vazduha

Vidi se i da su oba kruga nekada bila ograđena kamenom (Vuk Karadžić bi rekao „okolomaćena“). Delovi ograde se još uvek jasno vide, i ako je mestimično veoma oštećena. U selu Skrobnici kažu da je ograda bila od „dobrog krečnjaka“, pa je često kradena za pečenje kreča i to samo u poslednjih 50 godina. Do tada, kreč se znatno manje koristio u gradnji kuća, koje su se pravile od drveta i naboja. Duž ostataka ograde posađeno je drveće i žbunje. Upravo tamo gde je to žbunje bilo bodljikavo, ograda se najbolje sačuvala. Oko većeg kruga može se videti dosta jorgovana i gloga, tu je i dren, divlja kruška, kalina, vrba i leska, sa mnogo divljih božura. Za sve ove biljke je sigurno da su imale svoj značaj u narodnoj religiji Srba, o tome su pisali Čajkanović i Sofrić. Ima se utisak ih je neko tu namerno sadio, te da je reč o nekakvom svetom mestu.

Utisak pojačava zavetni krst, posvećen Ognjenoj Mariji, koji se nalazi u većem krugu, 15-20m severoistočno od njegovog centra. Na krstu je natpis, koji pokazuje da je podignut 1938.godine, te da ga je podigla izvesna Rosa sa svojim sinovima i posvetila ga Ognjenoj Mariji, za zdravlje ljudi i stoke i za berićet u polju.

Ognjena Marija je poznata iz narodne religije Srba i Bugara kao gospodarica vatre i zmija. Veruje se da je gromovnikova sestra, koja munjom pali vatru. Njen praznik je 30 jula po gregorijanskom kalendaru.

Zavetni krst na Bogovom gumnu, posvećen Ognjenoj Mariji

Na terenu smo se uverili da se kamena ploča ispred krsta može podići i da ispod nje i danas stoji keramička kadionica. To sugeriše da i danas tu neko dolazi i pali tamjam. Ova slika pokazuje još nešto veoma važno: kada posmatrač stoji unutar većeg kruga na Bogovom gumnu, horizont je u visini njegovih očiju a on ne vidi ništa drugo osim oboda kruga i neba. Ovo znači da je mesto upravo idealno za posmatranje neba, jer je horizont ravan, astronomi bi rekli „matematički“, a vidi se cela nebeska hemisfera. S obzirom da mesto nije zagađeno veštačkom svetlošću, jer u blizini nema velikih naselja, u vedroj noći doživljaj neba je upravo fascinantan: vidi se neuporedivo više zvezda nego kada se gleda iz Beograda, izgledaju mnogo krupnije i blistavije, Mlečni put se vidi potpuno jasno. Vazduh je čist, planinski, pa će svetlost Meseca, kada padne na ovaj krst, učiniti da njegova senka bude jasno vidljiva. Na sve to, postoji i jedan „carski“ makroorijentir. Iz centra većeg kruga na Bogovom gumnu, vidi se najviši vrh Stare planine, Midžor (2169m), koji se nalazi približno na istoku (43° 23′ 42″ N, 22° 40′ 37.92″ E).

Sve ovo ukazuje da je Bogovo gumno veoma verovatno namerno napravljeno kako bi se sa njega posmatralo nebo i nebeska tela. Previše je veliko da bi stvarno bilo gumno. Za stožer u njegovom centru bi se moglo vezati 50 konja od jednom, koji bi išli u krug i vrli žito. Tako nešto je sasvim malo verovatno. Znatno je verovatnije da se ovde neko „igrao zlatnom jabukom“, to jest, posmatrao Sunce.

Satelitski snimak Bogovog gumna

Treba videti da li su ova dva kruga u nekom, astronomski značajnom odnosu. Da bi se to ispitalo, odredili smo precizne geografske koordinate:

Centra manjeg kruga:

Geografska širina:         43° 33′ 56,48”
Geografska dužina:       22° 01′ 51,18”

U WGS sistemu (UTM zona 34N):

Y¹ = 0583251
X¹ = 4824153

Centra većeg kruga:

Geografska širina:       43° 33′ 54,19” N
Geografska dužina:     22° 01′ 46,32” E

U WGS 84 sistemu (UTM zona 34N)

Y = 0583143
X = 4824081

S obzirom da su WGS koordinate date u istim mernim jedinicama, na osnovu njih se, prema zakonitostima trigonometrije, može izračunati pravac koji je definisan ovim dvema tačkama (centar većeg i centar manjeg kruga). Proračun pokazuje da je pravac definisan tim tačkama na azm. 56,3099° t.j. 56° 18′ 35,64” u klasičnom sistemu, sa stepenima, minutima i sekundama.

Prema astronomskom softveru RedShift 7, na dugodnevicu 2012. godine, 21.juna, Sunce je na Bogovom gumnu izišlo ovako:

Prvi zrak Sunca se video na                          azm. 55° 42′
Polovina Sunčevog diska se videla na        azm. 56° 03′
Ceo Sunčev disk je izišao na                        azm. 56° 24′

Treba napomenuti da je uzeta u obzir prosečna atmosferska refrakcija svetlosti na horizontu pri davanju zadatka kompjuterskom softveru, a vrednosti prosečne refrakcije su određene prema merenjima Sampsona i saradnika, 2008.godine.

Jasno je da je azimut izlaska celog Sunčevog diska na dugodnevicu, na Bogovom gumnu gotovo identičan azimutu pravca koji je definisam centrom većeg i centrom manjeg kruga. Razlika iznosi samo 6 ugaonih minuta. Kada uzmemo u obzir da krugovi na ovom lokalitetu nisu napravljeni danas, nego bar pre nekoliko vekova, i kada znamo da je tada Zemljina osa bila malo više nagnuta u odnosu na ekliptiku nego danas, shvatamo da je mesto izlaska Sunca bilo za nekoliko lučnih minuta severnije, te bi to moglo da objasni razliku u azimutima. Ali, pošto ovaj lokalitet nije arheološki istražen (nije čak ni registrovan), pa se ne zna tačno kada su krugovi na njemu načinjeni, ne može se izvesti precizniji proračun.

Na lokalitetu se može potvrditi da na obodu većeg kruga, na pravcu izlaska Sunca na dugodnevicu, postoji jedna gomila kamenja, koja jasno štrči iz trave i lako se uočava iz centra. Na dugodnevicu će Sunce izići tačno iznad te gomile kamenja, ako se posmatra iz centra. I na terenu, kao i na satelitskim mapama, vidi se da na tom delu obima većeg kruga nema žbunja, koje bi ometalo posmatranje.

Ali, to nije sve. Ako se posmatra od zavetnog krsta posvećenog Ognjenoj Mariji, iznad iste te gomile kamenja će Sunce izići tačno na dan Ognjene Marije, 30.jula. To upućuje da je lokalitet sačuvao svoju, autentičnu namenu sve do skora, do 1938.godine, kada je Rosa iz Skrobnice podigla tu svoj zavetni krst. Taj krst ima i svoju „nišansku spravu“, u obliku dve kalote na vrhu. Kada stanete iza njega i „nanišanite“ napred pomenutu gomilu kamenja tako da se ona vidi između te dve kalote, imate tačan pravac izlaska Sunca na dan Ognjene Marije (azm. 62° 50′). Rosa je, očigledno, znala kako se ovo mesto koristi. U selu još uvek ima ljudi koji su je poznavali, ali niko nije mogao da kaže ko ju je naučio toj veštini.

Kada se bolje pogledaju odnosi krugova na Bogovom gumnu, vidi se da tangenta, povučena iz centra većeg kruga na obim manjeg kruga, definiše pravac izlaska Sunca na dan 23.aprila i 19.avgusta, a to su dani kada je mesto izlaska Sunca tačno na polovini puta od svog maksimalnog otklona do tačke istoka. kada će izići iznad Midžora. Sve ovo ne može da bude slučajnost. To su i danas značajni praznici: 23.april je Đurđevdan (po julijanskom kalendaru), 19.avgust je dan Preobraženja, to su dva od četiri dana koji se u anglosaksonskoj literaturi nazivaju „cross quarter days“. Na žalost, deo ograde malog kruga, koji bi trebalo da posluži kao orijentir u posmatranju izlaska Sunca (na dan Đurđevdana i Preobraženja) je uništen, pa ga danas nije moguće uočiti iz centra. Ali, ako bi se ograda rekonstruisala, makar do visine od 1/5m, to bi bilo moguće. Ipak, na obodu velikog kruga postoji još jedna gomila kamenja, koje štrči iz trave, baš na ovom pravcu, kada se gleda iz centra (nalazi se pored stabla jedne divlje kruške). Time je i ovaj pravac sasvim zadovoljavajuće definisan, ali ovo vodi zaključku da se manji krug odavno izišao iz upotrebe za posmatranja.

Svesni smo da ovaj lokalitet još uvek nije sasvim arheoastronomski istražen. Ne može ni da bude, sve dok se ne obavi arheološko istraživanje i ne utvrdi bar približno vreme njegovog nastanka.

Da nebismo previše pričali, prikazaćemo sve to na slikama:

Na slikama su astronomski značajni pravci, definisani na Bogovom gumnu


Kameni krugovi na planini Devici

Tajanstveni kameni krugovi na planini Devici najverovatnije su ostaci drevne opservatorije koja je našim precima služila za posmatranje kretanja Sunca i Meseca i pravljenje kalendara. Ovo je rezultat istraživanja tima stručnjaka predvođenih psihijatrom Aleksandrom Bajić, koja se već petnaestak godina bavi proučavanjem slovenske mitologije.


Megalitska opservatorija Kokino

Megalitska opservatorija Kokino blizu Kumanova, na severoistoku Makedonije, koju je NASA proglasila za jednu od četiri najstarije megalitske opservatorije u svetu.

Provedena ispitivanja i pronađeni artefakti (keramički tanjuri, amforoidne posude, kamene sjekire) pokazali su da lokalitet ima obilježja i mitske svete planine. Najinteresantniji elementi su prijestolja (tronovi). Postavljeni su tako da imaju pogled ka istočnom horizontu i predstavljaju sveto obredno mjesto. „Nišan“ je bio postavljen od dva okomita kamena bloka s procjepom između njih. Praćenje kretanja nebeskih tijela pomagalo je da se prave kalendari koji su služili za organiziranje poljoprivrednih i stočarskih aktivnosti, kao i za određivanje dana za izvođenje ritualnih plemenskih obreda vezani s kultom plodnosti, svetog braka, između Majke Zemlje i Sunca.



In the mountains of the Balkans, up until the end of the 20th century, shepherds carried with them a calendar stick. It was a stick with a notch cut into it for every day of the year and a cross or some other symbol for major holy days, which in Serbia are all linked to major agricultural events and major solar cycle events. At the end of every day a piece of the stick up to the first notch, representing the previous day, was cut off from the stick. When the last piece was cut, the year was over. This was a very effective way to track the passage of time. It was simple and could have been used easily by uneducated shepherds in the mountains where they were often cut off from the rest of the population for up to nine months. By looking at the stick they would know when it is time to praise god and their protector saint. But also the would know when the cheese needs to be ready and packed so that it can be sent from the mountain stations down to the valleys. And when to gather the flocks for sheering and when to start migrating down to the valleys before the winter descends.

Two shepherds minding flocks on the mountain would be able to coordinate their actions with each other and with the people from the valleys by using identical calendar sticks.

But in order to make these calendar sticks, you need to know:

1. When does the solar year start?
2. How many full moons there are in a year?
3. How many days there are in a moon?
4. How many full moons are in a solar year?
5. How many full extra days there are after the end of the last full moon before the beginning of the new solar year?

Once you know this, you can make a stick calendar, give it to people and they will be able to coordinate their actions. Here is an example of the stick calendar from Bulgaria.

How do you determine all the above? By a very long period of observation of the sun and the moon and their changes, and by realizing that they follow cyclical patterns. Then you need to determine what these cycles are and how they relate to each other.


You realize that there is a day and a night. Day always fallows night and night always fallows day. So you can use a border moment between night and day, sunset or sunrise as delimiting point which determines the beginning or the end of a day and night period. Then you can count days by counting the number of sunrises or sunsets. You have your time unit that you can use for measuring and expressing time. So you find a level place from where you can observe the sunrise and sunset all year round and start observing and counting. You want to mark the place from which you are observing the sky, so you use a stick, a post and stick it into the ground. So every morning you go to the post and observe the sun rising and every evening you go to the post and observe sun setting.

You also realize that there is this body in the sky, moon and that as night after night passes, moon changes from a thin crescent to the full circle and back again.

Then one night during the full moon you start wandering after how many nights the moon will become full again. You take a stick (štap in Serbian) and you cut a notch into it for every night between the two full moons. Now you have a full moon cycle cut "into stick",  or cut "u štap" in Serbian. The archaic word for full moon in Serbian is still "uštap", meaning "into stick".  You then repeat your marking of nights into another stick "štap" for the next moon cycle and the next. You compare your moon sticks "uštaps" and you realize that the full moon always comes after the same number of notches.

The Moon has phases because it orbits Earth, which causes the portion we see illuminated to change. The Moon takes 27.3 days to orbit Earth, but the lunar phase cycle (from new moon to new moon or from full moon to full moon) is 29.5 days. The Moon spends the extra 2.2 days "catching up" because Earth travels about 45 million miles around the Sun during the time the Moon completes one orbit around Earth.

You count notches on your moon stick, your "uštap". You realize that the there are about 29 to 30 nights in a moon cycle. You start calling this period moon (mesec in Serbian). And you have a lunar calendar.

Because the first day counting was associated with moon cycle calculation, the start of the day was counted from the sunset. This tradition was preserved in both Ireland and Serbia until very recently.

Because the tracking the change of the moon is easy, the first calendars were moon based. You could say to people: "we will meet at the next full moon" or "we will meet three full moons from today" or "we need to meet on the third day after the third full moon". All people needed to do to keep their appointment was to use stick "štap" and mark the passing of full moons into the stick "uštap".

This is the 8000 years old lunar calendar found in Serbia. It is made from the tusk of a wild boar and is marked with engravings thought to denote a lunar cycle of 28 days, as well as the four phases of the moon. There is an empty space just before the last notch. Is this the 29th day, when the new moon vanishes from the sky and is not visible? The calendar fits into a pouch or a small bag so it can be said that this is probably the world's first pocket calculator, calendar.

The area where the tusk was discovered represents one of Europe's most interesting archaeological sites from the Neolithic period and was a religious center 8,000 years ago.

This was probably a ceremonial calendar, which probably belonged to the priest and was maybe even held in a temple. The ordinary people probably had "uštap" the full moon cycle cut into a stick. For time synchronization required for work planning simple  "uštap" is perfectly sufficient. There is no need for time adjustment

The problem is that this system is good enough for short term planning which is not related to the vegetative cycle. But if you try to use moon calendar to plan your activities related to vegetative cycle you will realize that the moon calendar is not the right tool for the job, because the Earth vegetative cycle is governed not by the moon but by the Sun. If a specific solar governed event, like the beginning of spring fell on the 3rd full moon this year, it will not fall on the 3rd full moon next year. Because the lunar year, the sum of full moons in one year, is shorter than the solar year, the new lunar year will start earlier than the solar year and the solar event will occur later than previous year. And this lagging of the solar events will be bigger and bigger as years pass. 

So how do you solve this problem?

You realize that you need to start using the sun cycle in order to determine the exact timing of vegetative events during the solar year. You start with what you know about the sun. You know that the sun is changing in a longer cycle. It gets higher over the horizon and hotter and then lower and colder over many moons. The trick is to determine exactly when the solar cycle starts and how many moons does it last. 

Remember the level place from where you were observing the sunrise and sunset all year round in order to determine the number of days in a moon? The observatory? You are standing next to the observation pole and observing sunrises and sunsets. As you are observing the sunrises and sunsets, you notice that the point where sun rises is not the same as the point where sun sets. The sun rises on the left side of the horizon, travels across the sky from left to right and sets at the opposite right side of the horizon. As days pass you realize that the point where the sun rises moves along the horizon. So does the point where the sun sets. You notice that the sunrise point moves during the spring further and further to the left and the sunset point further and further to the right. So the sun needs to travel longer across the sky and the day is longer and longer and hotter and hotter. Then at some point during the summer the sunrise and sunset points start moving in the opposite direction. The sunrise point starts moving to the right and sunset point starts moving to the left. They get closer and closer to each other, so the sun has to travel shorter distance between the sunrise and sunset and the day is shorter and shorter and colder and colder.

This is extremely important observation if you depend on solar vegetative cycle for your survival. If the length and heat of the day depends on the position of the sunrise and sunset points, then determining how they move becomes imperative. You know that the days when the sunrise and sunset points change the direction of their movements, fall in the middle of the coldest and hottest part of the year. You are of course more interested in the turning point which falls in the middle of the cold dark part of the year. You want to know if, and this was for our ancestors very real IF, and when the sunrise and sunset points will start moving further and further away from each other, because that will mean that the days will start getting longer and hotter again. So you start observing the the horizon and you try to remember where the sun rose and set yesterday in order to compare it with the sunrise and sunset position today. But that is difficult and imprecise. It would be much better if you could mark the points of sunrise and sunset every day in some way and then observe the relative position of the sunrise and sunset points to the marks. So you decide to use two stakes, poles as markers. But it is difficult to mark the exact point of sunrise and sunset if the horizon is uneven. It would be much easier if the horizon is horizontal, smooth and elevated all around you so that the observation and marking of the sunrise and sunset points becomes more precise. So you decide to create an artificial horizontal smooth horizon which will mask the real horizon. You take a long enough rope, tie it to the observation pole and then walk around the observation pole. As you walk you mark a circle with the center in the observation pole.

You then dig a circular trench along the circle and pile up the the dug out earth on the edge of the circle to form the bank. You build a henge like this original earthen henge in Stonehenge.

Now when the sun rises or sets it will be easy to mark the exact spot of sunrise and sunset  with a stake stuck into the elevated earthen bank. Every morning and evening you observe the new position of the sunrise and sunset points. If the sun does not rise and set at the points marked with the yesterday's stakes, you stick new stakes into the earthen bank to mark the new position of the sunrise and sunset points, and you remove the yesterday's stakes. As the days get colder and colder, the sunrise and sunset stakes will get closer and closer to each other. Then one day in the middle of the winter, the movement of the sunrise and sunset points will stop. The sun will rise at the same position behind the yesterday's sunrise stake and will set at the same position behind the yesterday's sunset stake. That day is the winter turning point, the winter solstice, the shortest day of the year. You mark these two points with the permanent taller stakes. So when the sun again rises and sets behind these two sunrise and sunset stakes you will know that the winter turning point, the winter solstice, the shortest day has arrived again. You can now build a high wall, a fence, a palisade made of wooden stakes, around the central observation stake, within the earthen henge, in order to create artificial smooth horizontal elevated horizon to completely mask the real horizon. You then make two gates, both in the earthen bank and in the wooden palisade within it, at the exact places where the winter solstice turning point stakes were. So in the future, on the day of the winter turning point, the winter solstice, the people standing in the center of the sun circle will see the sun rise and set through the "sun gates".

This is exactly what people did in Goseck circle one of the oldest henge solar observatories in the world.

At the winter solstice, observers at the center would have seen the sun rise and set through the southeast and southwest gates.

You can do exactly the same with the boundary turning points in the middle of the summer. You can make gates at these two points or just at the summer solstice sunrise point and watch the sun rise through the sun gate every summer solstice like in so many henges in England.

Now you have a ceremonial sun circle, which can be used year after year to determine the the beginning of the solar year but also for worshiping of the high god, the Sun.

Then from the starting point of the winter solstice, you count number of days and number of full moons until the next starting point. You get a long stick and you cut a notch for every day and a cross for a full moon day. You are basically determining the number of days in a solar year and the number of "moons" in a solar year and you record them  "u štap" in a stick. Next time the winter solstice arrives, you will know exactly how many full moons there are in a solar year and how many "extra" days are you need to reach the end of the solar year. Then when the sun rises through the sun gate, and the new solar year begins, a celebration is held to celebrate the rebirth of the sun and the new year calendar stick is cut.

How was this year calendar stick cut?

The year stick was cut in such a way that it first counted the days of fool moons from the day of the winter solstice, regardless whether there was actually a full moon or not. A notch was made for every day and every time the number of days in a full was reached, the full moon mark was made in the calendar stick. At the end of the last full moon period, people were left with the extra days, the days which they needed to add to reach the number of days in the solar year. These days were added to the end of the calendar stick. These extra days were called "dead days". They were outside the calendar, outside the time, between the sun circle and the moon circle. These were the days when no work was done, the taboo days, when everyone was at the sun circle, waiting for the sun to be "reborn" and for another solar year to start. People originally probably used the 29 days full moons. This calendar had 12 full moons and 17 extra dead days. At some point one day was added to each full moon and moons ended up having 30 days each. This calendar had 12 fool moons and 5 extra dead days.

In Serbian tradition the name of these 5 extra "dead days" is preserved as (Mratinci, Mrt + den, literally dead day) which in Serbian Orthodox church calendar fall between the 9. do 14. of November. These dead days are also called "vučji dani" or  wolf days.

The calendar stick with all the days of the solar year divided into the days of the full moons and the dead days, allowed everyone to count time in the same way, and to coordinate their actions without the need to observe the sky and know anything about the movements of the sun and moon. Now vegetative events of the solar year were fixed in the lunar calendar. Also this system made sure that every year was a true solar year, starting at the exactly the right time and lasting exactly the same number of lunar calendar days. It was the dead days at the end of the solar year that allowed year length adjustment.

So after the celebration at the sun circle is finished, everyone goes away to their villages, bringing with them their year stick calendars. Every day, they cut away a piece of the year stick up to the first notch, marking the passing of the previous day. Then one day, when the last full moon mark is reached on the stick, at the beginning of the dead days, everyone comes back to the sun circle to witness the rebirth of the sun, and to get the new calendar stick carved for them. I love the way these calendars are not made to record the past, but to fix the present moment in time and to allow planning for the future.

It seems that at some stage the order of "dead days" and full moons was reversed and the dead days were counted as the first days after the winter solstice.  

In Serbian tradition, Sun, the "Višnji Bog", the High God, is perceived as a living being, which is born every year in the winter. He then grows into a young man Jarilo on the 6th of May the day of the strongest vegetative, reproductive power of the sun. Then he becomes the powerful ruler Vid at the summer solstice, 21st of June the longest day of the year. He then becomes the terrible warrior Perun on the 2nd of August the hottest day of the year. Then the Sun God dies on the day of the winter solstice, the 21st of December the shortest day of the year. The Sun God then goes into the underworld, where it spends 5 days and emerges, reborn on the 25th of December. These 5 days that the sun spends in the underworld, are the extra days, the dead days, the days which are outside of the calendar.

This is why Christ the Son God, was born on the 25th of December, the same day when Mithra the Sun God was born before him.

Epiphany which traditionally falls on January 6, is a Christian feast day that celebrates the revelation of God the Son as a human being in Jesus Christ. The earliest reference to Epiphany as a Christian feast was in A.D. 361, by Ammianus Marcellinus St. Epiphanius says that January 6 is hemera genethlion toutestin epiphanion (Christ's "Birthday; that is, His Epiphany"). Alternative names for the feast in Greek include η Ημέρα των Φώτων, i Imera ton Foton (modern Greek pronunciation), hē hēmera tōn phōtōn (restored classic pronunciation), "The Day of the Lights", and τα Φώτα, ta Fota, "The Lights".

Was the night between the 6th and the 7th of January, the old end of the 17 dead days, when the month had 29 days? The day when the sun reappeared from the underworld and revealed itself to the people as the beginning of a first day of the first moon of the new year? Is this why this day is still a holy day of the revelation, birthday of the Son the God who replaced Sun God?  Is this why this day is called the Day of the Lights?

But in Serbian tradition we also find the 5 dead days at the end of the solar year. When the beginning of the year was moved to the spring Equinox in March, the dead days became the Baba's days, the days of the Baba Mara, Mora, Morana, Marzana, the goddess of winter and death. They are the last 5 days of winter, the dead days after the end of the last 30 days full moon and just before the beginning of the spring. In Serbia these days are often in legends called jarići meaning billy goats. Now vanished stone circle from the south of Serbia was recorded as being called Baba i jarići. Baba was the central stone pillar and jarići were the circle stones. Were there five of them? Is this why so many stone circles from Ireland have exactly 5 stones? Maybe these were days during which Jarilo, the young sun, the god of spring is going through the underworld before being born to start new vegetative cycle. There is an expression in Serbia, which probably dates to the time of the forced Christianization of the Serbs in 13th Century: "Ja ga krstim a on jariće broji" meaning "I am baptizing him and he is still counting billy goats". The expression means wasting time on someone and shows how strong the old faith was among the Serbs. Are the billy goats from this expression the same 5 dead days of the old calendar? Are all these beliefs and customs echos from the days when first henges were built 7000 years ago in order to create the first lunisolar calendar?



Stonehenge is a prehistoric monument in the English county of Wiltshire, about 2 miles (3.2 km) west of Amesbury and 8 miles (13 km) north of Salisbury. One of the most famous sites in the world, Stonehenge is the remains of a ring of standing stones set within earthworks. It is in the middle of the most dense complex of Neolithic and Bronze Age monuments in England, including several hundred burial mounds.

Archaeologists believe it was built anywhere from 3000 BC to 2000 BC, as described in the chronology below. Radiocarbon dating in 2008 suggested that the first stones were raised between 2400 and 2200 BC, whilst another theory suggests that bluestones may have been raised at the site as early as 3000 BC. The surrounding circular earth bank and ditch, which constitute the earliest phase of the monument, have been dated to about 3100 BC.

Archaeological evidence found by the Stonehenge Riverside Project in 2008 indicates that Stonehenge could have been a burial ground from its earliest beginnings. The dating of cremated remains found on the site indicate that deposits contain human bone from as early as 3000 BC, when the ditch and bank were first dug. Such deposits continued at Stonehenge for at least another 500 years. The site is a place of religious significance and pilgrimage in Neo-Druidry.





Megalithic Malta, c. 3600 - 3000 BC

Megalithic Malta

Ħal-Saflieni Hypogeum


The Hypogeum of Hal Saflieni and an unknown race with elongated skulls

Many ancient megalithic structures exist in Malta and one of them is the ‘Hypogeum of Hal Saflieni’, a subterranean structure with magnificent properties that is more than 5,000 years old. The Hypogeum (a Greek word meaning ‘underground’) is supposed to be the oldest prehistoric underground temple in the world.

The discovery of this incredible site was made in 1902 when construction workers, who were excavating to build the foundations of a building, stumbled upon what appeared to be an underground sanctuary.  When archaeologists began uncovering the site, they found a massive underground structure consisting of three levels carved into stone. It has been estimated that more than 2,000 tonnes of stone would have needed to be removed for its construction.

Today the whole of the Hypogeum of Hal Saflieni is underground, but in the past the main entrance was on the surface, decorated with megaliths. On the walls of the Hypogeum many different patterns in red ochre were found.  Shapes like spirals, pentagons, floral patterns, and even the outline of a bull adorned the walls.

Within the Hypogeum, archaeologists have uncovered tombs, rooms of unknown function, and a ‘Main Chamber’, which is a circular room carved into rock with a few trilithon entrances. In this room, the statue of a sleeping lady was found (as shown in the picture). Other rooms include the ‘Decorated room’, the ‘Snake Pit’ and the ‘Holy of Holies’, and the ‘Oracle room’, a rectangular-shaped room which has very peculiar acoustic characteristics.

The acoustic properties of the ‘Oracle room’ have been studied extensively by researchers. Anything spoken in that room is heard all throughout the Hypogeum.  Furthermore, some research has shown that the acoustic properties of the reverberating sound affects human emotions. Research done by Paolo Debertolis and Niccolo Bisconti of the Universities of Triests and Siena respectively, has shown that the construction of the chamber was made in a way to affect the psyche of people, perhaps to enhance mystical experiences during rituals. The use of fractal non-linear resonances, which appear in the acoustics of the Hypogeum, is something that modern science has just started to investigate and the results show that these type of frequencies have the ability to alter matter.

The ‘Sleeping Lady’ found in the Main Chamber, along with other figurines found within the Hypogeum all display ‘abundant forms’.  In other words, the figures appear to be extremely obese, and there is no agreement as to why this may be.

One particularly interesting fact about the Hypogeum is that when it was discovered, 7,000 skeletons were found piled within the chambers.  What’s more is that they had a unique characteristic – elongated skulls – and one of the skulls (out of only a handful that survived) lacked the Fossa median (the join that runs along the top of the skull).  It is known that some of the skulls were on display in the Archaeological Museum in Valletta. However, after 1985 all the skulls that had been found in the Hypogeum, along with other elongated skulls found across multiple ancient sites in Malta, disappeared without a trace, and have never been recovered. What remains to testify their existence and their abnormality are the photos of Dr Anton Mifsud , and his colleague Dr Charles Savona Ventura, and their books detailing the abnormalities of the skulls, including: elongation, abnormally developed temporal partitions, and drilled and swollen occiputs.  Supporting the finding is an extract written in the National Geographic magazine in the 1920s describing the first inhabitants of Malta as a race with elongated skulls:

From an examination of the skeletons of the polished-stone age, it appears that the early inhabitants of Malta were a race of long-skulled people of lower medium height, akin to the early people of Egypt, who spread westward along the north coast of Africa, whence some went to Malta and Sicily and others to Sardinia and Spain.

It is, of course, highly suspicious that the evidence for such a significant discovery went missing.  It appears to suggest that someone wished to keep the results of the finding out of public knowledge, and perhaps out of the hands of researchers.

A race of people with elongated skulls, a chamber of unbelievable acoustic properties, and the mysterious disappearance of more than 7,000 skulls makes you think that something very special happened in this place, yet very few people to know about it, and it appears someone wanted it to be this way.

By John Black


Rujm el-Hiri, c. 3000 - 2700 BC

Rujm el-Hiri - Gilgal Refaim

Rujm el-Hiri is an ancient megalithic monument consisting of concentric circles of stone with a tumulus at center. It is located in the Israeli-occupied portion of the Golan Heights, some 16 kilometres (9.9 mi) east of the coast of the Sea of Galilee, in the middle of a large plateau covered with hundreds of dolmens.

Made up of more than 42,000 basalt rocks arranged in concentric circles, it has a mound 15 feet (4.6 m) tall at its center. Some circles are complete, others incomplete. The outermost wall is 520 feet (160 m) in diameter and 8 feet (2.4 m) high. The establishment of the site, and other nearby ancient settlements, is dated by archaeologists to the Early Bronze Age II period (3000–2700 BCE).

Since excavations have yielded very few material remains, Israeli archeologists theorize that the site was not a defensive position or a residential quarter but most likely a ritual center, possibly linked to the cult of the dead.

Hebrew name used for the site is Gilgal Refā'īm or Galgal Refā'īm, "Wheel of Spirits" or "Wheel of Ghosts" as Refa'im means "ghosts" or "spirits".

History and purpose

The site was cataloged during an archaeological survey carried out in 1967-1968 by Shmarya Gutman and Claire Epstein. The site is probably the source of the legends about "a remnant of the giants" or Rephaim for Og. The surveyors used Syrian maps, and a Syrian triangulation post was found on top of its cairn.

Structure and description

The site's size and location, on a wide plateau which is also scattered with hundreds of dolmens, means that an aerial perspective is necessary to see the complete layout. The site was made from Basalt rocks, common in the Golan Heights due to the region's history of volcanic activity. It is made from 37,500 - 40,000 tons of partly worked stone stacked up to 2 meters (6.6 ft) high. It was estimated by Freikman that the transportation and building of the massive monument would have required more than 25,000 working days. The site is often referred to as the "Stonehenge of the Levant."

The remains consist of a large circle (slightly oval) of basalt rocks, containing four smaller concentric circles, each getting progressively thinner; some are complete, others incomplete. The walls of the circles are connected by irregularly placed smaller stone walls perpendicular to the circles.

The central tumulus is built from smaller rocks, and is thought to have been constructed after the surrounding walls were constructed. Connecting to it are four main stone walls. The first wall, shaped like a semicircle, is 50m in diameter and 1.5m wide. That wall is connected to a second one, an almost complete circle 90m in diameter. The third wall is a full circle, 110m in diameter and 2.6m wide. The fourth and outermost wall is the largest: 150m in diameter and 3.2m wide.

Entrance to burial cave

A central tumulus 65 feet (20 m) in diameter and 15 feet (4.6 m) high is surrounded by concentric circles, the outermost of which is 520 feet (160 m) in diameter and 8 feet (2.4 m) high. Two entrances to the site face the northeast (29 meters (95 ft) wide) and southeast (26 meters (85 ft) wide). The northeast entrance leads to an accessway 20 feet (6.1 m) long leading to the center of the circle which seems to point in the general direction of the June solstice sunrise. The axis of the tomb discovered at the site's center is similarly aligned. Mount Hermon is almost due north and Mount Tabor is close to December solstice sunrise. Geometry and astronomy are visually connected by the temple's design.

Rujm el-Hiri viewed from ground level

  • Megalithic Malta, c. 3600 - 3000 BC > Rujm el-Hiri, c. 3000 - 2700 BC


The Mysterious Monument as Old as Stonehenge, ‘Rujm el-Hiri’

In a land dotted with ancient dolmens or tombs from a time before the urban centers of civilization had arisen in Mesopotamia and Egypt, stands a monument as old as Stonehenge. According to local legend, it was the “land of ancient giants.” The monument is called Rujm el-Hiri, which means “the stone heap of the wild cat,” or more recently known as Gilgal Refa’im, Hebrew for “Wheel of Giants,” referring to a biblical race of giants.

The stone monument was first discovered by archaeologists when an aerial survey was released after Israel captured the territory from Syria in 1967. The site sits 10 miles (16 kilometers) east of the Sea of Galilee in the western part of the historic Bashan plain of Golan Heights. An archaeological survey was conducted of the area between 1967 and 1968.

It wasn’t until 1989 that full archaeological excavations were carried out, running until 1992. The excavations were conducted by Moshe Kochavi and Yonathan Mizrachi through the Land of Geshur Project of Tel Aviv University’s Institute of Archaeology.

Rujm el-Hiri has been dated to the Early Bronze Age II (3000–2700 B.C.E.) time period and is believed to be one of the oldest and largest structures in the region. The structure is made of thousands of small basalt rocks; if weighed together they would be 37,500 metric tons.

Watch Rujm el Hiri — Prehistoric ”Stonehenge” monument in Golan Heights, by

The stone monument has five concentric circles, the largest being 520 feet (158 m) in diameter, with the four smaller circles walls becoming progressively narrower in width. All the walls are connected perpendicularly by 36 randomly spaced smaller walls.

In the center lies the central tumulus, or cairn (tomb), built with smaller stones. At its core is a buried dolmen, or burial monument, which consists of two 5 foot (1.5m) tall stones that support a large horizontal stone. The dolmen lies over a chamber that connects to a 10 foot (3 m) long access corridor.

Robbed tomb at Rujm el Hiri, called the Stonehenge of the Chalcolithic period due to the alignment with the sun and the megalithic structure.

Archaeologists have traditionally dated this site and other ancient settlements nearby to the Early Bronze Age II (3000–2700 B.C.E.) time period. However, a reassessment was made when the site was excavated by Yosef Garfinkel and Michael Freikman of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem in 2007. Then in 2010, Freikman returned and has now suggested the tumulus was built at the same time as the rings and not during the Late Bronze Age (1550–1200 B.C.) as previously thought. The rings have been dated to the Early Bronze Age based on artifacts found at the site.

However, a Chalcolithic pin was found in a passageway, which was possibly dropped by the robbers. Now, with the discovery of the Chalcolithic pin, Freikman theorizes the structure should be dated to an original construction during the Chalcolithic period, and the tumulus was the centerpiece of the ring.

Watch Mysterious Prehistoric Stonehenge in Golan Heights, by ShantiUniverse:

Freikman’s theory is supported by the find of an earlier phase of construction beneath the two later phases that contained the Bronze Age finds. There have also been other Chalcolithic sites discovered in the vicinity of Rujm el-Hiri, which include a similar but smaller stone structure that has been dated to the Chalcolithic period.

So what is it?

There have been a number of explanations as to what this site was used for: A place of worship with ceremonies held during the longest and shortest days of the year, a monumental burial site for a major chieftain or important leader, a place to conduct astronomical observations for calculations related to religious purposes, or an ancient calendar for agricultural purposes.

All these theories are based on their understandings of the artifacts that were discovered and studies of the site. One theory does stand out from the rest; it takes into account the archaeological evidence, the cultural contexts of Chalcolithic practices, and also the surrounding Chalcolithic archaeological sites.

Dr. Rami Arav, co-director of the Bethsaida excavations northeast of the coast of the Sea of Galilee and Professor of Religion and Philosophy at the University of Nebraska, Omaha, wrote his theory in an article entitled Excarnation: Food for Vultures, which was published in the Biblical Archaeology Review.

He proposes the site was for both funeral purposes and for “excarnation,” the process of removing the flesh from bones of the deceased for placement in ossuaries (bone boxes) by the Chalcolithic inhabitants. He describes small clay ossuaries that have been discovered in the hundreds at various archaeological sites that date back to Chalcolithic times.

Chalcolithic burial Cave in Peki’in in the Upper Galilee. The cave is narrow, 17 m long and 7 m wide, with three different levels. It contained many findings, including Ossuaries decorated with human faces. Dated 4,500-3,500 B.C.E.

In the 1st century B.C. and 1st century A.D., Jews in the Jerusalem area allowed the deceased to decay away to their bones for a year in burial caves before the disarticulated bones were placed into ossuaries. For the earlier Chalcolithic people of the Rujm el-Hiri, there is no evidence that indicates how they managed to reduce the bodies to bones before placing them in their ossuaries.

Chalcolithic Ossuaries on display at Eretz Israel Museum, Tel Aviv, Israel.

Arav suggests that various cultures and civilizations had used birds of prey, specifically vultures, to remove the flesh off the bones of the deceased. He bases this on anthropological records on excarnation or “sky burial” practices of many cultures and civilizations.

In his article, he uses the ancient Zoroastrian dakhmas, or “towers of silence,” as an example. In this practice, vultures would be used to eat away the flesh from the bones of the dead that were placed on raised platforms, partly to protect the soil from any pollution from decaying bodies.

Because the concentric walls of Rujm el-Hiri are at progressively lower heights toward the central tumulus, he suggest that this would have allowed the vultures to have a better view of the laid-out bodies from where they sat on the walls. After the vultures finished, the bones would be freed of any flesh, and then could be disarticulated and placed in their ossuaries, which were designed to look like houses, miniature granaries, or silos.

Archaeologists have theorized that ossuaries symbolize the storage places for new life, as granaries contained seeds or grain for new crop production. At least in this area of the ancient Near East, some have suggested that the ancient Chalcolithic people believed in a resurrection.

Arav also uses references from research that suggests the Chalcolithic people of Levant had originally migrated from the ancient Anatolian region (now southern Turkey). Studies of the material culture have shown striking similarities between the Chalcolithic Levant and that of southern Turkey, with excarnation thought to have been practiced in southern Turkey during the Neolithic and Chalcolithic periods.

One example of a “vulture shrine” was found at the famous Neolithic site of Catalhoyuk in southeastern Turkey. The shrine had a mural painted on the wall of vultures swooping over headless corpses, which has been interpreted as a possible excarnation scene.

As all theories go, however, these suggestions are just that — a theory — and will no doubt cause a lot of debates and criticism, but Arav’s theory is intriguing and not that implausible.



Gozo was an important place for cultural evolution, and during the neolithic period the Ġgantija temples were built; they are among the world's oldest free-standing structures, as well as the world's oldest religious structures. The temple's name is Maltese for "belonging to the giants", because legend in Maltese and Gozitan folklore says the temples were built by giants. Another important Maltese archaeological site in Gozo, which dates back to the neolithic period, is the Xagħra Stone Circle. Also, native tradition and certain ancient Greek historians (notably Euhemerus and Callimachus) maintain that Gozo is the island Homer described as Ogygia, home of the nymph Calypso.

The Greek word Ogygios (Ὠγύγιος), meaning Ogygian, came to mean "primeval, primal," or "from earliest ages" and also "gigantic"

Og, also called "Ogias the Giant", who was king of Bashan in the Old Testament; was described as a giant in Deut 3:11, viewed by the Hebrews as having aided Noah in building the Ark, thus Noah allowed him to stay on the deck of the Ark.


The mystery of Rujm el-Hiri's giants

It’s been called one of the most mysterious structures in the Middle East. Archaeologists first spotted the monument composed of five stone concentric circles by studying an aerial survey after Israel invaded the territory of Golan Heights from Syria during the ‘six day war’ of 1967. The site consists of five circles flowing inside each other, forming a lunar-crescent-shaped stone monument. The pattern is impossible to discern from ground level.

Located about 8 miles (13 kilometers) northwest of the Sea of Galilee, Rujm el-Hiri (stone heap of the wild cat) resembles a labyrinth, with a burial chamber at its core. Its Hebrew name of Gilgal Refaim means 'wheel of giants' and refers to the Rephaites, an ancient race of giants mentioned in the Bible, alluding to only one of the many theories as to who built the complex monument, or the purposes behind it. It is sometimes referred to as the "Jethro Cairn," a reference to the Druze prophet Jethro, who plays an important role in local folklore.

The outermost ring measures 152 meters (492 ft) wide, 20 m (66 feet) wide at its base, and is preserved to a height of 7 m (23 feet). The Golan structure consists of small stacks of basalt rocks with a combined weight of over 40,000 tons.Its volume is about 14,000 cubic meters (almost 500,000 cubic feet).

Between five and nine massive circular rings surround a central burial chamber, the largest ring measuring more than 500 feet (152 meters) wide, and reaching three to eight feet (one to 2.5 meters) high.

The rings are not all complete, and some of them are connected with short walls, making ‘spokes’ in the giant wheel.

Not all of the internal rings are complete; some of them are more oval than Wall 1, and in particular, Wall 3 has a pronounced bulge to the south. The shape may have had symbolic importance, as the lunar crescent is a symbol of an ancient Mesopotamian moon god named Sin.

Some of the rings are connected by a series of 36 spoke-like walls, which make up chambers, and seem to be randomly spaced. At the center of the innermost ring is a cairn protecting a burial; the cairn and burial come after the initial construction of the rings by perhaps as long as 1500 years.The cairn is an irregular stone heap measuring some 20-25 m (65-80 ft) in diameter and 4.5-5 m (15-16 ft) in height.

Estimates indicate that the number of working days invested in the construction of the site is between 35,000 days in the lower estimate [and] 50,000 in the higher.If the lower estimate is correct, it means a team of 200 ancient workers would have needed more than five months to construct the monument, a task that would be difficult for people who depended on crops for their livelihood.

Referred to as “Stonehenge of the Levant”, it is estimated to be approximately 5,000 years old. Dated to the Early Bronze Age II period (3000 to 2700 BC), it is believed contemporary with the prehistoric Stonehenge monument in the UK.

Since its discovery, a number of excavations have revealed it's one of the oldest and largest structures in the region. Scholars generally agree construction started as early as 3,500 BC but other parts may have been added to the structure during the following two thousand years. The original builders and their intent will perhaps never be known, but the stacking started around 3500 BC and sporadically continued over the next 2,000 years.

Pottery and lithics excavated at the structure indicate that the monument dates to between 3050 B.C. and 2650 B.C., meaning it is likely older than the pyramids of Egypt, and a predecessor/contemporary of Stonehenge. Few artefacts have been found at the site, hinting it was not near a settlement, but instead may have been a ritual centre, linked to the cult of the dead.

At the center rests a huge burial chamber. The function of the cairn is a matter of debate. Recent research suggests it may predate the crescent-shaped structure by several centuries.Excavations into the walled chambers failed to yield artifacts that would indicate if the rooms were used for either storage or residence. A single Chalcolithic pin was seemingly dropped by looters at the site. Apart from being a grave, it might have had an astrological purpose. Researchers found that both annual solstices align with gaps in the walls.

The entrance to the cairn/center opens on sunrise of the summer solstice. Other notches in the walls indicate the spring and fall equinoxes. These notches were predictors of the rainy season, a crucial bit of information for the sheep herders of the Bashan plain in 3000 BC. Calculations of when the astronomical alignments would have matched stars supports the dating of the rings at having been built at about 3000 BC +/- 250 years.

There is much debate whether the elaborate structer was built around its central burial mound (pictured) or whether this feature was added later on.Initially, archaeologists thought the structure was part of a city wall, but excavations by the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, indicate there is no city beside it and that the structure is a free-standing monument.

The proposed interpretation for the site is that it constituted a prominent landmark in its natural landscape, serving to mark possession and to assert authority and rights over natural resources by a local rural or pastoral population.

Given the tomb at its center, some researchers have theorized that the site was related to a death ritual, possibly sky burials, where the dead would be laid out to be devoured by birds. Others have suggested that the formation was some kind of ancient church to megalithic gods. However, the most prevalent modern theory is that the rings were used as a celestial calendar that could measure the equinoxes and assist in primitive astronomy.

A recent archeological dig unearthed two dozen skeletons of giant proportions near the ancient ruins of Rujm el-Hiri, in the Golan Heights. Archeologists from University of Tel-Aviv claim that the skeletons might be older then the ruins themselves, already dating back to 5000 years, according to mainstream archeology.

It is said in the Bible, that Og, King of Bashan, ruled over these lands. Og and his mighty army was slain by Moses and he is said to have been the last of the Rephaim, a hebrew word meaning giant. One of the giants was covered in a copper armor. One of the copper swords was also as hard as steel and made in a fashion unknown to us.

Adding to the mystery of Rujm el-Hiri, is Bet Yerah (which translates to "house of the moon god"), located only a day's walk (18 miles/29 km) away from the crescent-shaped monument. Bet Yerah was a large town with a grid plan and fortification system. Its inhabitants traded with the First Dynasty of Egypt (approximately 3000BC), as seen from several artifacts, including a jug with a hieroglyphic inscription, na stone palette with Egyptian motifs, and an ankh.

The name Bet Yerah indicates that it was associated with the moon god (house of the moon god (Bet Yerah). However, it's uncertain whether the town actually bore this name 5,000 years ago. In 2012, researchers said the name "Bet Yerah" was recorded in 1,500-year-old Jewish rabbinic texts and may date back much earlier.

As such, Rujm el-Hiri may have designated the town's borders. While the monument is located within walking range of the city it is too far away to be an effective fortification.

Another stone monument, a giant cairn that weighs more than 60,000 tons, was discovered recently beneath the waters of the Sea of Galilee. Its date is unknown, but like the crescent-shaped structure, it is located close to Bet Yerah.

Rujm el-Hiri and Bet Yerah were part of the Land of Geshur Archeological Project, a collaborative effort, that attempted to evaluate the settlement patterns and economic context of the region over a period of more than 4,000 years before the common era. To do this they concentrated on five sites, the best known of which was at Kibbutz Ein Gev, and the least known, the megalithic stone circle of Rujm el-Hiri.

The recent discovery of the Rephaim cemetery adjacent to Rujm el-Hiri is just another step forward to understanding the complex relationship between the cemetery, Rujm el-Hiri and Bet Yerah.

Nuragic civilisation, c. 1800 BC


The Nuragic civilization was a civilization in Sardinia, the second largest island in the Mediterranean Sea, which lasted from the 18th century BC (Bronze Age) to the 2nd century AD. The civilization's name derives from its most characteristic monument, the nuraghe, a tower-fortress type of construction built in numerous exemplars starting from about 1800 BC.


The Sherden one of the most important tribes of the sea peoples, are to be identified with the Nuragic Sardinians. Simonides of Ceos and Plutarch spoke of raids by Sardinians against the island of Crete, in the same period in which the Sea People invaded Egypt. This would at least confirm that Nuragic Sardinians frequented the eastern Mediterranean Sea. Further proofs come from 13th-century Nuragic ceramics found at Tiryns, Kommos, Kokkinokremnos and in Sicily, at Lipari and the Agrigento area, along the sea route linking western to eastern Mediterranean.

Sardinian warrior figure - Model of Nuragic ship


Megaliti u Dalmaciji - Illyrians

Vrlo zanimljive rupe u kamenu. Iste su pronažene u Peruu i Egiptu, a u njih se izlijevao rastopljeni metal i tako je spajao kamene blokove.

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